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What are the differences between 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G in mobile communication?

Mobile communication is the use of technology that allows us to communicate with others in different locations without the use of any physical connection ( wires or cables ). Mobile communication makes our life easier and it saves time and effort.

This system of wireless communication has evolved over a period of time starting from the 1G communication system in the 1980s to the present 4G and the upcoming  5G. This evolution have added beauty to the wireless communication system. This article will help to break down the differences between these various generations in the mobile communication system and what we can expect from the future ones particularly 5G.

Differences Between 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G in mobile communication system

1G cellular network1G

1G refers to the first generation of wireless cellular technology (mobile telecommunications). These are the analog telecommunications standards that were introduced in the 1980s and continued until being replaced by 2G digital telecommunications. The main difference between the two mobile cellular systems ( 1G and 2G ), is that the radio signals used by 1G networks are analog, while 2G networks are digital.

2G cellular network


2G is short for second-generation cellular technology. 2G cellular networks were commercially launched on the GSM ( Global System for Mobile communication ) standard in Finland by Radiolinja in 1991. It allowed for digital voice and data to be sent across the network and allowed users to roam for the first time. 2G also used signalling and data confidentially and mobile station authentication to ensure improved security and privacy of telephone calls.

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The advance in technology from 1G to 2G introduced many of the fundamental services that we still use today, such as SMS, roaming, conference call, call hold, and billing based on services, e.g charges based on long distance call and real time billing.


2.5G refers to the technology that made 2G systems capable of packet – data services that ranges from 20 to 40 kbps, such  as GPRS (General packet radio service) and EDGE. This upgrade took place between the year 2000 and 2003.
GPRS supports flexible data transmission rates and provides continuous connection with the network. It also allows for the service provider to charge for the amount of data that is sent rather than their connection time.

3G cellular network3G

3G is the third generation of cellular mobile telecommunications technology. It is the upgrade of 2G and 2.5G GPRS networks, for faster internet speed. This generation supported high speed wide band internet access. It also, supported fixed wireless internet access, video calls, chatting and conferencing, mobile TV, video on demand services, navigational maps, email, mobile gaming, music and digital services such as  movies. Greater security features were introduced  with 3G, including Network Access and Domain security and Application security.


4G is the fourth generation of broad band cellular network technology. It is an all IP based network system succeeding 3G. It was initiated the year 2010. Its purpose is to produce high speed, high quality and high capacity to users while improving security and lower the cost of voice and data services, multimedia and internet over IP.

The major benefit of an IP based network is that it is able to seamlessly handover for voice and data to GSM, UMTS, and CDMA2000 technologies from the previous different generations infrastructure.
4G introduced the LTE (Long-Term Evolution) standard which only support packet switching and an IP network. As a result of this, significant amount of infrastructure changes were needed to be implemented by service providers in order to make it available. Voice calls in GSM, UMTS, and CDMA2000 are circuit switched, hence, with the adoption of LTE, carriers will have to re-engineer their voice call network.


5G is generally seen as the fifth generation cellular network technology that provides broad band access. Presently, there are no any publicly agreed definitive standards that have been set for this technology. Hence, not a great deal of information is known about the specific technologies that are going to be used. According to different estimations, date of commercial introduction of 5G cellular network is around the year 2020

Internet of things (IoT) is one of the main benefit of the 5G cellular network. This would make the most of the higher speed of connectivity to allow for seamless integration of devices on a scale never been achievable before. In other articles,  you will find more details about the 5G cellular network and the internet of things(IoT)

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Written by Russell


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